News briefs

MCI on the defensive

MCI, the beleaguered telecommunications provider struggling to emerge from bankruptcy, struck back last week at critics who are urging the General Services Administration to debar the firm.

Public advocacy groups have issued repeated calls for GSA to ban MCI from federal circles ever since the company — then called WorldCom Inc. — admitted to overstating its profits by more than $9 billion in a 2002 corporate scandal.

The most recent broadside came from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who last week said that GSA's investigation into MCI was suspect.

Jerry Edgerton, senior vice president of MCI Government Markets, told reporters June 4 that MCI's government division had nothing to do with the ethical lapses.

"As a business unit, we had been practicing ethical behavior," he said. "Through this entire period of time, we have conducted ourselves as a good government contractor should."

PeopleSoft to acquire J.D. Edwards

PeopleSoft Inc. has agreed to acquire another software firm, J.D. Edwards & Co., forming the world's second largest enterprise applications software company, the two companies announced June 2.

The deal, to be paid in stock to J.D. Edwards shareholders, is valued at about $1.7 billion, based on PeopleSoft's May 30 closing stock price. The two companies combined will have about $2.8 billion in annual revenues, 13,000 employees and more than 11,000 customers in 150 countries.

Edwards will become a wholly owned PeopleSoft subsidiary. The boards of the two companies have approved the deal, but shareholders still must vote on it.

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